Zebra gets CE mark for medical image analyzing algorithms

CE mark showing construction lines
The CE mark clears Zebra to push its image analyzing algorithms in Europe

Zebra Medical Vision has received a CE mark for its medical image analysis technology. The system uses algorithms to uncover evidence of fatty liver, coronary artery calcium, emphysema and other indicators of disease in CT scans.

Shefayim, Israel-based Zebra is set to introduce the product in the European Union on the back of securing the CE mark. The offering currently includes five algorithms designed to detect fatty liver, excess coronary calcium, emphysema, low bone density and vertebral compression fractures. Zebra plans to introduce more than 10 more algorithms in the coming months.

All the algorithms are underpinned by the same model. An anonymized database of medical images and clinical data is the foundation of the approach. Zebra has used this resource to train algorithms to detect and analyze certain markers in medical images. In the case of fatty liver, the algorithm segments and calculates the average density of the liver using CT scans of the chest and abdomen. The bone density algorithm delivers bone density T-scores from CT scans.

Zebra sees the automation of these tasks helping overstretched radiology departments.

“We see significant interest in countries that have a problematic ratio of radiologists per capita. Providing tools that assist them in delivering better care is critical,” Zebra CEO Elad Benjamin said in a statement. “We have already begun working with luminary university hospitals in Europe, and will continue to expand our footprint across the region.”

Zebra laid the groundwork for its expansion in Europe by working with the Parisian public hospital system and other healthcare facilities in the region. The company has now also gained regulatory clearance to start pushing the product in Australia and New Zealand.

Those clearances mean Zebra is now positioned to market its technology in countries with the sort of “problematic” numbers of radiologists its system is designed to support. In the United Kingdom, for example, growth of CT and MRI scans is outsripping increases in the number of radiologists. The number of radiologoists increased by 5% from 2012 to 2015, according to the Royal College of Radiologists. The number of CT and MRI scans increased by 29% and 26%, respectively, over the same period.

Such trends are hindering the ability of radiology departments to scan patients and analyze images in a timely manner. Zebra thinks it can help by providing algorithms to take up slack created by the shortage of radiologists. The technology is designed to integrate into picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), radiological information systems (RIS) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems.

Zebra has advanced to this point using $20 million in funding from investors including Intermountain Healthcare, Khosla Ventures and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff.